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Amp1 & Helix/Fractal/Kemper users...

yeky83

Member
Messages
2,741
The Amp1's power amp is a current feedback Class-D amp. It's not just about some compression built in with the microtube, but there's an impedance interaction between the power amp and the guitar cab which will impact the eq/response greatly. (It's not really a new thing with the Amp1, Quilter does this too.) It's closer to the PowerStation than it is to a neutral power amp.

A Kemper Direct profile consists of the reference amp's preamp and power amp, and the impedance interaction between power amp and cab is also baked in. If you use it with the Amp1's power amp, you're doubling up. You'll be doubling up on power amp compression/breakup, and bass and treble boost.

With a Fractal device, you can turn off the power amp modeling and the speaker impedance modeling. You won't don't have to double up using the Amp1. (But you can if it sounds good to you.)
 

dacula789

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
473
I initially was using the SD 700 stereo power amp with my Kemper. Ended up returning it because the Amp1 power amp sounded just as good and practically as loud. I noticed little to no difference between the two with a little EQing. I use the Kemper/Amp 1 with monitors and 2 Kabs for a W/D/W rig and it’s the best setup I’ve had in over 35 years.
 

Matteo11

Member
Messages
2,379
The Amp1's power amp is a current feedback Class-D amp. It's not just about some compression built in with the microtube, but there's an impedance interaction between the power amp and the guitar cab which will impact the eq/response greatly. (It's not really a new thing with the Amp1, Quilter does this too.) It's closer to the PowerStation than it is to a neutral power amp.

A Kemper Direct profile consists of the reference amp's preamp and power amp, and the impedance interaction between power amp and cab is also baked in. If you use it with the Amp1's power amp, you're doubling up. You'll be doubling up on power amp compression/breakup, and bass and treble boost.

With a Fractal device, you can turn off the power amp modeling and the speaker impedance modeling. You won't don't have to double up using the Amp1. (But you can if it sounds good to you.)
Thanks Yek! Perfect explanation. You are a wealth of knowledge on this stuff my friend. I am going to go ahead and just order a Fryette PS-2 or PS-100 and forget the Amp1 because I am not for turning of the power amp sims in any way on the FM3.

Couple questions though.....You use the PS-2 with your Fractal right? Have you tried the Fryette PS-100 and if so would you recommend it over the PS-2?
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
5,857
The Amp1's power amp is a current feedback Class-D amp. It's not just about some compression built in with the microtube, but there's an impedance interaction between the power amp and the guitar cab which will impact the eq/response greatly. (It's not really a new thing with the Amp1, Quilter does this too.) It's closer to the PowerStation than it is to a neutral power amp.

A Kemper Direct profile consists of the reference amp's preamp and power amp, and the impedance interaction between power amp and cab is also baked in. If you use it with the Amp1's power amp, you're doubling up. You'll be doubling up on power amp compression/breakup, and bass and treble boost.

With a Fractal device, you can turn off the power amp modeling and the speaker impedance modeling. You won't don't have to double up using the Amp1. (But you can if it sounds good to you.)
would the Fractal poweramp/speaker impedance modeling do best with a very neutral poweramp? I assume yes, but what product would be a good match for it?
 

yeky83

Member
Messages
2,741
Thanks Yek! Perfect explanation. You are a wealth of knowledge on this stuff my friend. I am going to go ahead and just order a Fryette PS-2 or PS-100 and forget the Amp1 because I am not for turning of the power amp sims in any way on the FM3.

Couple questions though.....You use the PS-2 with your Fractal right? Have you tried the Fryette PS-100 and if so would you recommend it over the PS-2?
@Yek is Yek, I am his bastard internet child.

@Yek, any input on the PS-2 vs PS-100?
 

chris akinhan

Member
Messages
5
I just recently did a side by side comparison of power amps for Helix dialing in several tones on the Helix in the mid gain range for Blues, Blues Rock, Classic Rock genres.

I compared the PS 170, Orange Pedal Baby, and my silver (first) edition BluGuitar Amp1.

I plugged the out from Helix directly into these at line level and directly into the Amp1 return for the power amp stage only.

Conclusions and Notes:

PowerStage 170

Plenty of power/volume in small to medium sized venues or stage volume only.
I’ve heard people describe the PowerStage as sounding “sterile” compared to the Pedal Baby. I have to concur. It is more sterile sounding compared to it and outright dead sounding compared to the Amp1. After many comparisons back and forth between all three I believe I know exactly what is missing in the PS 170. It is missing a large amount of the natural harmonics produced by the tube amp, and since Helix is not super great at reproducing these, they are glaringly missing. The sound is there but there are large “gaps” in the harmonics from one amp to the next.

There is no “bounce” or “give” when you play. It feels completely “digital”, hard an non-organic.

Orange Pedal Baby

It definitely sounds BETTER and like one reviewer on youtube recently stated, “more amp like”. Even though it was better, no matter how much I EQ’d Helix, there was still a lot of mojo and oomph missing. I WAS ABLE to increase some of this on the Pedal Baby itself by increasing the bass dial resonance, as well as reducing the treble dial resonance to more closely match my speaker. However, even though it had MORE body, presence, and harmonics than the Power Stage, it still lacked a glaringly large number of the harmonics that the Amp1 produces and although it also FELT slightly better to play, it still felt mechanical and non-organic.

BluGuitar Amp1

Just absolutely stellar in comparison to both of the others. When you take a Helix tone and send it through the Amp1 power amp you get:

1) The FEEL of a tube amp… that bounce and feedback is there… but I’m still playing a digital emulator! Best of both worlds.

2) Tons of transparent power on tap

3) It SOUNDS like a real tube amp with a glorious array of tube harmonics.
If I put the Amp1 at 100% for sound/feel, the PowerStage is about 65% and the Pedal Baby is like 70% at 12 oclock dials and maybe 78% when adjusting dials to match your speaker.

Additionally, I've found that the best speaker so far to use for the Helix in combo with the Amp1 is the Celestion g12k-100 in a closed back wide body cab.

Conclusion: There is still no better option than a used Amp1 (~$400) for amplifying something like the Helix. I still think Thomas could make a killing just selling his nano tube power section only for ~$450 - $500, or Helix could clean up by adding a similar power amp device to go along with it.
 
Last edited:

Matteo11

Member
Messages
2,379
I just recently did a side by side comparison of power amps for Helix dialing in several tones on the Helix in the mid gain range for Blues, Blues Rock, Classic Rock genres.

I compared the PS 170, Orange Pedal Baby, and my silver (first) edition BluGuitar Amp1.

I plugged the out from Helix directly into these at line level and directly into the Amp1 return for the power amp stage only.

Conclusions and Notes:

PowerStage 170

Plenty of power/volume in small to medium sized venues or stage volume only.
I’ve heard people describe the PowerStage as sounding “sterile” compared to the Pedal Baby. I have to concur. It is more sterile sounding compared to it and outright dead sounding compared to the Amp1. After many comparisons back and forth between all three I believe I know exactly what is missing in the PS 170. It is missing a large amount of the natural harmonics produced by the tube amp, and since Helix is not super great at reproducing these, they are glaringly missing. The sound is there but there are large “gaps” in the harmonics from one amp to the next.

There is no “bounce” or “give” when you play. It feels completely “digital”, hard an non-organic.

Orange Pedal Baby

It definitely sounds BETTER and like one reviewer on youtube recently stated, “more amp like”. Even though it was better, no matter how much I EQ’d Helix, there was still a lot of mojo and oomph missing. I WAS ABLE to increase some of this on the Pedal Baby itself by increasing the bass dial resonance, as well as reducing the treble dial resonance to more closely match my speaker. However, even though it had MORE body, presence, and harmonics than the Power Stage, it still lacked a glaringly large number of the harmonics that the Amp1 produces and although it also FELT slightly better to play, it still felt mechanical and non-organic.

BluGuitar Amp1

Just absolutely stellar in comparison to both of the others. When you take a Helix tone and send it through the Amp1 power amp you get:

1) The FEEL of a tube amp… that bounce and feedback is there… but I’m still playing a digital emulator! Best of both worlds.

2) Tons of transparent power on tap

3) It SOUNDS like a real tube amp with a glorious array of tube harmonics.
If I put the Amp1 at 100% for sound/feel, the PowerStage is about 65% and the Pedal Baby is like 70% at 12 oclock dials and maybe 78% when adjusting dials to match your speaker.

Additionally, I've found that the best speaker so far to use for the Helix in combo with the Amp1 is the Celestion g12t-100 in a closed back wide body cab.

Conclusion: There is still no better option than a used Amp1 (~$400) for amplifying something like the Helix. I still think Thomas could make a killing just selling his nano tube power section only for ~$450 - $500, or Helix could clean up by adding a similar power amp device to go along with it.
Nice review!
 

Matteo11

Member
Messages
2,379
@Matteo11 Please report your findings when you try FM3 with Amp1.

I got my FM3 today and got about 2 hours with it before the wife came home. Since it was new to me I fumbled around a bunch with it just trying to get familiar with it. Wasn't all that difficult though since I used to have an AX8 and the FM3 is laid out to me at least so much more user friendly and logical than the AX8.

I played around with it through my JBL LSR305's then hooked up to the AMP1. I just posted over at the Fractal Forum regarding specific settings in the FM3 AMP/SPEAKER block so my immediate findings may be due to my not setting it up exactly as it should be.

I found the FM3 sounded really good with the AMP1. Like 95% of the way there. There was a touch of "zinginess" for lack of a better word that I assume is either coming from the Solid State power section of the AMP1 ...OR...like I said could be not setting the HF & LF Resonance Speaker settings correctly. I am thinking it is the Solid State Power Amp though of the AMP1 because it is similar to my experience just using the AMP1 by itself.

Don't get me wrong though it still sounds absolutely fantastic but I am very particular and critical. It felt exactly like a tube amp for sure though. The feel imo was vastly improved on with the FM3 since I had the AX8 and there is absolutley no difference in feel vs a tube amp running through the AMP1. I bet I can get what I am hearing (that zinginess" dialed out once I know what parameters to tweak.

Considering you can get a used original AMP1 used for around $400 possibly even lower it is a no brainer vs getting a SD170 or something similar solid state wise. The nanotube in the AMP1 really does enhance the feel.

I have a Fryette PS-2 arriving Monday so I will compare the two when I get that as well.

I will have more time with it tomorrow and maybe some of the guys over at the Fractal forum will respond to my thread regarding specific parameters to adjust so I can really dial it in.

Just in case if anyone is wondering how I was running it was FM3 Out1 >>> FX return AMP1 >>> Bogner 2x12 OS cab. Cab disabled in FM3 and tried turning the Output Mode to SS PWR AMP + CAB in the FM3 and also messing with the LF & HF Resonance in the Speaker tab.
 

Ben Furman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,767
I think there’s a comparison out on YouTube where someone compared the two. The HK was a little fuzzier in the overdrive, IIRC.
Meh. The fuzz depends on the speaker cab, cab sim, and presence settings. Few comparos actually bother to properly dial in the equipment.

Both sound great, so it boils down to features. The Blug is easier to dial in; the H&K offers a wealth of presets.
 

mickelodeon

Member
Messages
615
Good for you. Looks like I hurt more than one persons feelings calling it a modeler. It’s still a modeler...

I own and use Helix. Formerly owned an FM3, which is how I was able to tell the OP what to do if he found things a little too compressed running into the effects return of the Amp1.

I also owned a sansamp for years (went looking for it last night but can’t find it). Have a few amps, used to own a lot more of them. Do I need to give you a full inventory of gear I own or used to own?

D
It's not as much about hurt feelings as much as it's just factually incorrect. It's a solid state amplifier. There is nowhere in the circuit where there is any device acting as something else (read: modelling) outside of the digital reverb. It's fundamentally incorrect to call it a modeller. It's VOICED like a Marshall, but it's not MODELLING a Marshall any more than a Bogner or a Suhr is, both of which produce amps which are voiced as "M-style"

An AC30 reissue isn't a modeller of an original AC30.

The lack of tubes doesn't make it a modeller.

Your owning a Helix or FM3 doesn't make it a modeller.

It's just a small form factor solid state amp with a digital reverb added.

No one is "hurt" by your incorrect insistence, certainly not me, but on a page that's dedicated to players assisting other players with information about gear, someone perpetually asserting demonstrably false claims is certainly disappointing and will garner rightful criticism.
 

mickelodeon

Member
Messages
615
Thanks for the input fellas.
I have an Amp1 and a Helix in my stable, and I've used it as you described. It does work well, and as someone else mentioned, it does add some color, but the bigger point I'd like to make is that aside from highly specific sounds, I almost always preferred the Amp1 in 4CM to Helix models amplified. Admittedly, most of what I'm dialing in is Marshall style which is what the Amp1 is designed around.

Re: power amp coloration - Class D does have "a sound" but that's not really what you're hearing in the Amp1, at least to my ears. The way I understand the power section to work (though I could be wrong on this) is that there's essentially 3 "stages" that cascade. "Stage" 1 is a micro sized tube power amp which has filtering like a power amp and includes the Nanotube. This gives it some power amp thump and presence, and the tube introduces some harmonic distortion and "feel". The second "stage" is essentially loading down that tiny tube amp to line level. The third and final "stage" is the Class D component where it's re-amped up to the 100 watts that it pushes out.

Think of it as a tiny tube power amp with an attenuator and a Class D power amp built in - kind of like running a rack tube power amp into a Bad Cat Unleash or any of the other solid state re-amping/attenuating devices.

Clear as mud?
 

dk_ace

Member
Messages
2,013
It's not as much about hurt feelings as much as it's just factually incorrect. It's a solid state amplifier. There is nowhere in the circuit where there is any device acting as something else (read: modelling) outside of the digital reverb. It's fundamentally incorrect to call it a modeller. It's VOICED like a Marshall, but it's not MODELLING a Marshall any more than a Bogner or a Suhr is, both of which produce amps which are voiced as "M-style"

An AC30 reissue isn't a modeller of an original AC30.

The lack of tubes doesn't make it a modeller.

Your owning a Helix or FM3 doesn't make it a modeller.

It's just a small form factor solid state amp with a digital reverb added.

No one is "hurt" by your incorrect insistence, certainly not me, but on a page that's dedicated to players assisting other players with information about gear, someone perpetually asserting demonstrably false claims is certainly disappointing and will garner rightful criticism.
So... your feelings aren’t hurt, but you dug up a post from a month ago just to say so. Got it...

D
 




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